Nemesis - Anna Banks
First, let me say I absolutely hate the cover. And there’s no goddamn reason for this nonsense. When I first saw this months ago, I said “nope” and liked several reviews stating how problematic it is.

In fact, I STILL like those reviews and support those refusing to read this book because of it. That’s what I planned to do as well. So how did I wind up here? *record scratch*

I received an email from FFBC for signing up on this tour. It was HTML only, no pictures. It sounded great and I wanted a fantasy novel so badly. I’ve had a string of good luck with progress contemporary novels and hoped this would continue the trend in the fantasy realm.

It wasn’t until it was too late that I realized this book was the one with the blackface cover.

*headdesk* *sigh*

Now that I’ve read and loved Nemesis, I fucking hate the cover more. And I didn’t think that was possible. The cover could’ve been fantastic like the contents. Instead, it’s nauseating in its insensitivity, will turn people away, and makes me a hypocrite.

So, from the deepest trenches in my heart, fuck everyone involved with this bullshit, from those that created and approved it to those that said nothing or support it.

If you’re refusing to read Nemesis, I support you and I’m sorry. I’m sorry people that this cover was a good idea, didn’t see anything wrong with it, and people are still defending it. And I understand being upset or disappointed in my failure to follow through on not supporting the book. I feel that way about myself for those same reasons.

Which really, really, really fucking sucks on top of all the other problems because without the cover I’d be basking in the after effects and upset about the cliffhanger ending because I need to follow the story. GRRRR.

The fact that I loved reading Nemesis doesn’t negate any of this criticism or my praise to come. Though I do wonder if the cover wasn’t a problem, would it rate higher?

With all that said, my review is next. Hint: 4 Stars. You may continue or not at your own discretion.

The Good:
+Loved Sepora & Tarik
+Loved their relationship and banter between them
+Loved the magic and fantasy worldbuilding
+Didn’t see things coming ahead of time
+Loved how it actually deals with ruling a kingdom

The Bad & The Other
-----The fucking cover
-Cliffhanger ending that’s SO mean >:/
-----Did I mention the cover?

Things to Know:
They aren’t sworn enemies except for their families. They’ve never met before and this story would be completely different if they had. It’s not a full on blood feud, battling it out in the streets when the families cross each other. It’s a cold war between two ruling families with their history, traditions, temperament, and kingdoms in the way.

Nemesis opens with Sepora traveling on her serpen fleeing her home. This is the perfect way to get me interested. However, the beginning had info dumps and repetition. I don’t have the memory of a gold fish, okay? So I wanted to, but wasn’t feeling it at first.

Every other chapter is Tarik’s and his felt much smother. Or it was more dynamic because he was doing stuff while Sepora burning to a crisp in the desert lamenting her fate. (No, her skin isn’t black nor ever painted like cover.)

Once Sepora meets up with people it starts rolling. Her privilege from being a princess is readily apparent as is the culture shock of Theoria. Though she never actually slums it, she is at least aware of her luck. It’s nice to see her care for people of lower classes as people instead of a bottom-line to a healthier economy and stronger country. (which is true and should be a goal for any ruler like Tarik, but we’re still people down here, ya know?)

Meanwhile Tarik is fangirl worthy. I loved him prowling around with his big cat and struggling to handle his new promotion to king. He’s obviously got blind spots accepting traditions and not thinking about things, but he’s a good person and does see reason later.

Now, the way Sepora ended up in the palace and ran around was a bit…stretched at times. Like okay, really? But I enjoyed it all. The interesting magic system, though it’s not commonplace, the different kingdoms, the focus on energy usage, water, etc. for running a kingdom, the plague, the Parani, and of course the serpens. There could always be more serpens.

But what really hooked me was their relationship between Sepora and Tarik. I loved. every. single. goddamn. minute. They are perfect for each other and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

While reading I was completely immersed and smashed through in a single day. Then I noticed the pages were running out and started panicking. Sure enough it ends on a massive unforgiveable cliff hanger. WHYYYYY?!?!